Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders was on media duties once again as he looked ahead to the Reds’ Carabao Cup clash against Arsenal.
The two sides meet for the second time in four days as Liverpool look to repeat their impressive 3-1 win in the Premier League on Monday night.
There’s bound to be several changes for both sides, with fitness the primary concern with such quick a turnaround between fixtures.
Lijnders highlighted how crucial “freshness” is to Liverpool’s style of play, explaining how the Reds will field a strong side filled with “youth and experience.”
“It is really important if you have only two days in between, with our style, freshness is key,” Lijnders said.
“The freedom of the players to take initiative, to offensively and defensively especially to be on time in the challenge. You can only be on time if you’re in the right position and you can only be in the right position if you have the right concentration.
“We know if you are still fatigued it is much more difficult, so it will be a strong team, a combination of youth and experience – exactly as we always put it.
“But especially it will be a team who has hunger, who has passion in their veins to go again at Anfield, at night in a ‘final’.”
One likely change for Liverpool is the inclusion of Diogo Jota from the off. The Portuguese forward sealed the Reds’ win on Monday night with a maiden goal on his Anfield debut.
Lijnders previously praised Jota during his pre-Lincoln press conference and he was keen again to reiterate the qualities Jota possesses.
“Diogo, for passionate players, for players who have goals in them, there is always space at Liverpool. [He has] a great desire to learn our game, he will add something,” Lijnders added.
“I said last week he is at the same level technically as our front three and the one thing I found really difficult to coach is the intuition in the box, being in the right position to score like the pure instinct of a striker – what we want from many players, of course, but especially from our front three.
“He, in 10 or 15 minutes, was three or four times in the position to score, so that’s really something that is good.”
Tsimikas suffered a “thigh problem” against Lincoln last week, which will keep him out until after the international break.
Lijnders said: “Jordan, we will re-evaluate on Friday after this game to see if he can be ready for Aston Villa.
“Joel is the same as what I said last week, he will be ready [after] the international break and use the time to prepare the Everton game.
“Ox is progressing well. He’s in a good way and it’s really important for him that this first phase goes smooth. But, of course, that takes a much longer time.
“We have Kostas, who after the Lincoln game had a thigh problem. We thought it would settle, it didn’t, so he will need more time. He will not be involved on Thursday and also not on Sunday.”
Watch Lijnders’ full pre-match press conference above.